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The Social Soap Box: Engaging Customers Through Social Means

November 12, 2010 at 4:37 pm PST

I spoke at PubCon earlier this week on the topic of social media, press relations and brand management. Judging by the well attended conference and the flurry of activity, social media shows no sign of slowing down. It may evolve and we may call it something different, but the idea that everything is connected – a networked economy if you will – is here to stay. We’ve all heard of the great case studies of social media success for consumer brands (large and small) and certainly personal brands, but what about for small businesses?

I recently had a conversation with the Small Business Solutions Marketing Group at Cisco to understand how they used social media to gain mindshare and drive product development, and am pleased to hear their great progress and success. Since the group started incorporating social media into their marketing efforts targeted at resellers and small business owners last year, they’ve seen great return including an approximate 200% increase in community growth across their external social channels.

How was this achieved? Marketing Manager, Jeanne Quinn, outlined the following four crucial steps:

1)      Listening: Leveraging various social media listening tools, the group was able to identify their audience segment on Twitter and Facebook. In addition, they were able to assess the audience’s user behavior and information needs in these social networks.

2)      Content Development: Based on the audience profiles and user behavior, they developed content that met the needs of their audience including how-to tips, product reviews and basic technology explanations.

3)      Amplification: The content was then amplified across their Twitter and Facebook channels.

4)      Engagement: Through their social channels, the team responded to feedback from their community and also participated in existing conversations from third party blogs and social networks.

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Social At Cisco: A Few Things We’ve Learned…

November 12, 2010 at 10:43 am PST

I’ve been blogging about Cisco and non-Cisco stuff on my personal blog for a while and I’m thrilled to start contributing to the Cisco Social Media Blog too. To kick things off, in case you’ve missed these, check out some of our lessons learned and tips on live social video streaming, geo-location integration into B2B events and corporate tweet chats. 

The 9 Secrets of Success with Social Video
Not another term that starts with the word “social”, please! Hear me out. This is not your average video story: we created a video, put it on YouTube and bang, thousands of people have viewed it. So then, what is it?

Never Stop Experimenting: Pushing the B2B Event Envelope with Geo-Location
CiscoLive 2010. Another year, another planning cycle. “How can we push the boundaries of last year’s show? How can we do something new? How can we increase traffic on the show floor?” Read More »

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My 5 Takeaways from the Latest Altimeter Social Media Report

November 11, 2010 at 4:00 pm PST

Jeremiah Owyang, Altimeter Group released a first-of-its-kind research study on the emerging role of the social media strategist. You can download the report on Jeremiah’s blog here.

We’re happy to be included in this research report.   Clearly, marketing in a web 2.0 world means doing things differently but unless we stop doing something the old way…we’re not going to help our internal clients adopt new business processes.  After all, this is about change management and the social media strategist must be willing to work through internal resistance (one of the 6 major challenges discussed in the report) to create quick wins and convince stakeholders to adopt new ways to work. Since we’ve been experimenting, learning and integrating social into our business for a few years now, I thought I’d provide my top 5 takeaways for helping drive change in your company.

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Know the Security Implications of Social Media

Sites like Facebook and Twitter are a great way to promote your small business, but they also present some risks

There aren’t many Hollywood Movies that I get excited about, but I’ll admit that “The Social Network“, the movie about how Facebook got started, is one I’m looking forward to seeing. Facebook has enabled me to find long-lost friends and to keep in touch with relatives who are scattered around the country. But the use of Facebook also has its dark side.

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Out of Control User = Frenetic IT

When you access your email each day, do you do so at a distance of 15 paces because you’re just not sure what might jump out of that inbox? You can just about anticipate an email detailing how another user has caused a “blip” that will stretch your capabilities to protect both the user during their online engagements and the assets of the company? Or perhaps, there will be an email asking to set up a meeting of all-concerned to discuss how the employees in the sales department believe your information security policies are standing between them and their ability to do their job. Whose responsibility is it to keep the user engaged, informed, and compliant with company policy? Odds are, information technology leads will find their constituents asking how to accomplish something that wasn’t anticipated when the policies were created.

In a previous blog “When Your Employee Doesn’t Want to Come to the Office,” I shared my thoughts on the mobility aspects of the employee who wishes to work remotely. Today Cisco released part two of the Cisco Connected World Report and confirmed my hypothesis above: email inboxes are overflowing and IT departments are racing to catch up as the consumerization of the work place continues. Reading part two of the report, I was encouraged to see that more than 80 percent of IT department respondents noted they had an IT policy. What I found disheartening was the results from the end user, which detailed that ~24 percent of respondents didn’t know a policy existed, let alone where to find it. If that is the case, the escalation of policy collision isn’t going to occur.

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